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Report: Gov. Hickenlooper's staffing overhaul, sold as cost-neutral, costs millions

By: Arthur Kane, Special to The Denver Post
April 9, 2014 Updated: April 9, 2014 at 7:45 am
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photo - In this May 22, 2013 file photo, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at a news conference at the Capitol in Denver.  (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)
In this May 22, 2013 file photo, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at a news conference at the Capitol in Denver. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File) 

Gov. John Hickenlooper sold voters in 2012 a plan he said would modernize and streamline hiring and management of state workers. But 16 months later, additional at-will workers hired and moved under the constitutional change and other state provisions are costing taxpayers millions of dollars, a Denver Post analysis of state employment databases found.

Hickenlooper, along with previous Govs. Bill Ritter and Bill Owens, promised that Amendment S would clean up bureaucracies and allow managers to hold workers more accountable.

State officials had been talking about the change for years, but it took several attempts for voters to pass the change to the state constitution.

In 2012, legislative staff analyzing the issue for the Blue Book wrote that Amendment S would give the "Governor the ability to hire key staff, allowing for a quicker implementation of the policy agenda he or she is elected to enact." The Blue Book also noted: "Changing the rules for hiring state employees could also affect expenditures, but the overall impact is not expected to be significant."

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